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Rental real estate investing can be a rewarding way to diversify your portfolio, generate passive income, and build wealth. But it’s not easy—or quick.
Whether you’re an experienced real estate investor or just starting out, education is an essential part of the process. After all, the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to develop the right skills, refine your strategy, and become profitable. And seeking advice from experts is a great way to learn.
With so many real estate investing books, choosing the best ones can be difficult and time-consuming. So, we’ve done the hard work for you by evaluating dozens of books from respected industry experts. Here are the 10 best books to help you navigate your rental real estate journey—from finding properties and tenants to handling financing and taxes.
Note that most of these books are available in print, ebook, and audio formats.
Best Overall: The Book on Rental Property Investing
Our top overall pick was written by Brandon Turner, an active real estate investor and co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast. The back-cover blurb boasts that the book has “Every strategy, tool, tip, and technique you need to become a millionaire rental property investor!” While the book might not cover every detail about rental property investing, it is packed with enough actionable information and strategies to help you get started.
This 2015 book covers all the topics you would expect in enthusiastic fashion, including keys to rental property success, building your real estate team, analyzing rental properties, financing deals, the due diligence process, closing, managing your rentals, and exit strategies—including details about 1031 exchanges. Turner also includes four sample plans to emphasize that there are multiple ways to achieve your goals.
Best for Beginners: How to Invest in Real Estate: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started
Authors Joshua Dorkin and Brandon Turner are real estate investors and co-hosts of the BiggerPockets podcast. Their 2018 book is an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand introduction to several popular investing strategies, including house flipping, wholesaling, short-term rentals, turnkey investing, BRRRR (buy, rehabilitate, rent, refinance, repeat) investing, and house hacking.
The book is an ideal starting point for beginners and explains how to invest even if you have a full-time job, no money, or bad credit. It also offers tips for earning more at work (or on the side), so you can invest more.
The book has lots of stories taken from the authors’ podcast. These are motivational, real-life tales that give readers an idea about what real estate investing is like—and that there’s no one right way to go about it. According to the Investopedia Financial Review Board, the book “makes investing in real estate approachable and understandable for anyone new to real estate. Even experienced real estate investors could likely round out their knowledge with this quick and informative read.”
Best for Multifamily Properties: ABCs of Real Estate Investing
Author Ken McElroy has decades of experience in multifamily asset and property management and development; he’s also the real estate advisor to Robert Kiyosaki of The Rich Dad Co. Rather than offering a bird’s eye view of real estate investing, McElroy’s 2004 book focuses primarily on multifamily properties: identifying your market, setting target property parameters, evaluating potential investment opportunities, making offers, performing your due diligence, negotiating deals, and (eventually) maximizing the property’s profit potential.
Like many other real estate investing books, it discusses the importance of building your team, pointing out that one of the biggest rookie mistakes is trying to do everything yourself. The recommended list of team members is daunting: According to the author, you’ll need a business team (an attorney and an accountant), a property search team (real estate broker and property manager), an offer team (attorney, lender, investors, and contractors), and “other” team members, including an insurance agent, income tax consultant, and surveyor. Still, considering that the book focuses on multifamily properties and larger deals, it makes sense that you would need a big team to get the job done.
Best for Financing Deals: The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down
One of the biggest obstacles that real estate investors face is financing. Brandon Turner’s 2020 book (in its second edition) covers multiple solutions, from the obvious to the lesser known, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), partnerships, private money, hard money, seller financing, lease options, wholesaling, and syndication. Of course, investors often use multiple types of financing, and the “Creative Combinations” chapter emphasizes that you can mix and match various approaches to fit your deal or property.
Like Turner’s other books, this one is easy to read and conversational. It includes real-life examples to provide inspiration and break up the educational content (a “bonus chapter” at the end of the book briefly highlights 12 more investor stories). If financing is holding you back from entering the real estate investing world, this book is worth a read, even if it just gets you thinking about creative solutions.
Best for New Landlords: The Book on Managing Rental Properties
Heather and Brandon Turner’s 2015 book focuses on the management side of residential rentals, with lots of actionable advice on how to be an effective landlord. The book dives into topics like Fair Housing, advertising your vacancy, tenant screening, the application process, and lease agreements. It also tackles tenant management, finding and supervising contractors, and dealing with problems—from repairs and bounced rent checks to abandonment and eviction.
The Turners emphasize that no matter how good you are at finding real estate deals, you have to manage them correctly if you want to be a successful investor. And while many investors hire property managers, this book is designed for those who want to manage their own rentals.
Best for Flippers: The Book on Flipping Houses
Flipping properties is an attractive option for many current and future real estate investors, but this endeavor requires much more up-front knowledge than most realize. J Scott, a multifamily investor with $130 million in assets under management, provides his formula for success to become well-versed at flipping houses.
In this 2019 revised edition, Scott explains every potential problem and cost that investors can expect when flipping properties and insights on looking out for red flags before committing to a deal. The book focuses on reducing your risk when buying properties and guides you through the rest of the process—from preparing your financing and finding deals to creating a budget and managing your rehab—to help you receive the maximum return on your investment.
Best for BRRRR Investing: Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat
“Buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat,” or the BRRRR method, was developed by real estate broker and investor (and former police officer) David Greene. This 2019 book details each step of his process, from finding deals and buying under market value to rehabbing like a pro and setting rent prices. Importantly, Greene explains how to scale your business, with tips to help you go from buying two houses a year to buying two per month.
Even if you don’t follow the BRRRR method, you’ll find helpful advice that applies to other rental real estate strategies. Greene explains different types of financing and how to negotiate offers that get accepted, increase a property’s value, identify emerging markets poised for growth, and find the right real estate agent.
Best for Out-of-State Investing: Long-Distance Real Estate Investing
Real estate can be an excellent way to build wealth, but what happens if you live in a market where investing doesn’t make financial sense? As David Greene explains in his 2017 guide, out-of-state investing used to be considered risky. But the rules, technology, and markets have changed, allowing investors to cast a wider net to find deals nationwide.
Greene details how to build your team, understand your market, manage out-of-state properties, maximize your ROI, and find more out-of-state deals—such as real estate owned (REO) properties, short sales, half-finished homes, and notices of default. Greene also discusses the challenges of long-distance rehabs and how to work through them, including finding ways to incentivize your contractor, getting samples for renovation projects, and determining the value of upgrades.
Best for Real Estate Taxes: The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor
As certified public accountants (CPAs) and real estate investors, Amanda Han and Matthew MacFarland offer firsthand insight and advice on how real estate and investing taxes work, providing the foundation you need before you invest.
This 2020 tax guidebook is targeted at novice real estate investors but can be helpful to mid-level investors as well. Han and MacFarland draw real-world examples to explain complex tax laws, making it easy for readers with no background in real estate, investing, or finance to understand tax codes and make decisions that will favor them financially.
Best for Extras: Rental Property Investing QuickStart Guide
Symon He’s 2021 book is well-organized and sprinkled throughout with simple graphics, anecdotes, examples, and words of caution to keep the material interesting and engaging. He offers an excellent introduction to rental property investing, explaining his methods for winning at the right price, with the right property, with the right team, and plotting long-term success.
He offers a balanced approach to navigating the world of real estate investing, clarifying complicated topics for beginners while including insights that will appeal to savvier investors. The book comes with access to a long list of free digital assets—including worksheets, checklists, a market analysis tool, tenant templates, and various rental calculators—designed to make it a little easier to get started in rental property investing.
Rental real estate is a popular way to diversify investments while benefiting from passive income and wealth-building opportunities. While you don’t need a degree or any specific training to get into rental real estate, it pays to learn everything you can before jumping in and risking money. The books on this list are a great way to start your journey—or refocus it if you’re struggling.
We chose The Book on Rental Property Investing as our top overall pick because it gives a great overview of what it’s really like to build a rental real estate business. How to Invest in Real Estate: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started is an excellent choice for beginners who are just starting to think about real estate—and the ways that they might invest in it.
While the following books didn’t make our Best Of list this time around, they’re worth considering as you build your library:
- The Only Woman in the Room: Knowledge and Inspiration from 20 Women Real Estate Investors
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
- Creative Cash: The Complete Guide to Master Lease Options and Seller Financing for Investing in Real Estate
- Every Landlord’s Guide to Managing Property: Best Practices, from Move-In to Move-Out
Why Trust Investopedia?
Jean Folger is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about real estate for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, Opendoor, and other financial news outlets. For this review, she read thousands of pages and selected books based on the authors’ credentials, input from the Investopedia Financial Review Board, and the readability, usefulness, and quality of the advice that the books offer.